How COVID-19 responses are endangering trans people in Latin America

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This news article is relevant for humanitarian practitioners working in Latin America, and for those more broadly working with asylum seekers or the trans community; this article provides an important critical analysis of the impacts of binary-gender policies, and the ways in which a binary understanding of gender puts trans and non-binary people at significant risk of discrimination and violence.

This news article looks at the specific challenges government response to COVID-19 faced by the trans community in Latin America. The article first looks at the impact of “pico y género” (‘peak and gender,’ which meant different shopping days for women and men) in Panama and Colombia on the trans community, citing the discrimination of security guards and police as specific problems. The article considers how this policy has played out in different countries, and the extent to which different governments have acknowledged the ways the policy has worsened pre-existing discrimination.

The article then considers the impacts of these policies on trans asylum seekers–people who have left their countries as a result of SOGIE-based discrimination and violence. The article provides some background on the trans and non-binary community in Panama, where citizens cannot legally change their gender. The article finishes by considering the severe mental health consequences of this policy in a time of COVID-19.

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"...the effects have been particularly profound in Panama, where trans citizens cannot legally change their gender. She added that the trans community has also been put at added risk by the lockdown restrictions as more than 37 percent are HIV positive and some clinics have had to close."

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This news article looks at the specific challenges government response to COVID-19 faced by the trans community in Latin America. The article first looks at the impact of “pico y género” (‘peak and gender,’ which meant different shopping days for women and men) in Panama and Colombia on the trans community, citing the discrimination of security guards and police as specific problems. The article considers how this policy has played out in different countries, and the extent to which different governments have acknowledged the ways the policy has worsened pre-existing discrimination.

The article then considers the impacts of these policies on trans asylum seekers–people who have left their countries as a result of SOGIE-based discrimination and violence. The article provides some background on the trans and non-binary community in Panama, where citizens cannot legally change their gender. The article finishes by considering the severe mental health consequences of this policy in a time of COVID-19.